'I am sure ISRO will fix the problem': Nobel Prize laureate Serge Haroche on Chandrayaan 2

'A lot of money is involved in science, it has to do with economics and politics and I don't like this mixture.'


The failure of Vikram the lander has spurred a lot of reactions and statements by experts and laymen alike.

Another expert to comment on India's moon mission, Chandrayaan 2, is Nobel Prize winner for Physics Serge Haroche. During an interview, he told IANS“I am sure ISRO will fix the problem. All it has to do is learn so that the experiment gets better next time.”

The lander, with the rover tucker inside it, lost communication with ground control and ISRO later confirmed that it had a hard landing.  However, efforts are on to reconnect with it as it is still intact.

While he claims to have no idea about what actually happened or went wrong with Vikram, he said that the equipment worked fine right up till the end moment. However, the problem with the mission, according to him, was that there was so much media attention and the expectations for it to land and when it didn't, "there was a big amplification of disappointment."

I am sure ISRO will fix the problem: Nobel Prize laureate Serge Haroche on Chandrayaan 2

Vikram lander on the moon.

"Science is something where you are going in the unknown... you have surprises, sometimes good surprises and sometimes you have bad surprises and failures. I think the people who work in this area should know that there are failures. Since a lot of money is involved in science, it has to do with economics and politics and I don't like this mixture," he said.

He was in conversation with journalists during the Nobel Prize series Indian 2019 at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali.

He had many words of encouragement, not only for ISRO scientists but for everyone in the science field. He told The Hindu “What is the difference between a great scientist and an average one is that the great one recognises the learning he is having... Tries to collaborate as much as possible. Working in a group makes it easier to overcome difficulties."

Haroche also spoke about the future of science in India when he said "The best investment a country can make is investing in young minds. It is important for India to make sure that a large faction of them should come back to India because we need these people here."

Serge Haroche, Nobel Prize winner in physics 2012. image credit: Flickr/Bengt Nyman

Serge Haroche, Nobel Prize winner in physics 2012. image credit: Flickr/Bengt Nyman

When talking about the challenges that science is facing today, climate change is one of them. He said, in an interview with The Tribune "We need to measure the problem (climate change) scientifically and need science to mitigate its effects. We need alternative energies, better ways to harness solar energy by storing it in batteries. The solutions to world problems will come from ‘blue sky research’ and applied science."

Haroche said that a lot of the politicians who are leaders in world affairs are "science deniers" and they try to suppress logic. "They are utter liars and spreading fake news," he added.

When specifically asked about his thoughts on Donald Trump calling climate change a hoax, he told IANS "He has no mind so he cannot change it."

Haroche, is a French physicist that won the Nobel Prize, along with David Wineland, for their study of photons.

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